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Feds to Probe Abuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

The  federal administration has announced that it will soon launch an investigation of the wrongful use or overuse of antipsychotic drugs on patients in nursing homes.

The  administration has long been investigating the misuse of antipsychotic sedatives, including those that  are typically prescribed for nursing home patients who do not require these drugs at all.  In too many cases, investigators have found nursing homes wrongly classifying certain patients as schizophrenic so that they may be prescribed antipsychotic sedative drugs.  The administration has also found several nursing homes engaging in these practices and wants to understand whether these practices are widespread in the industry.  The  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services believes that the problem is a prevalent one, and that its scope has not been fully investigated.  Therefore, it has now announced that it will soon launch an investigation of such practices in the nursing home industry.

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that is characterized by symptoms that include delusions, hallucinations and other symptoms.  Antipsychotic drugs  are often used to treat patients with schizophrenia.    Side effects of these medications can include death. It is estimated that less than 1% of the American population suffers from schizophrenia.  However,  more than 99 nursing homes classify as many as 20% of their patients with schizophrenia.  That is a disproportionately  large percentage  of nursing home residents  who are being diagnosed with this condition, relative to the American population with schizophrenia.  In  other words, the math simply does not add up here.

Last year, a government report also underscored that many nursing homes are classifying patients as having the condition when they do not have symptoms of schizophrenia.  This  is being done with only one objective in mind –  the easier control and management of these patients using antipsychotics. According to the  report,  the overuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes had dropped over a period of several years, but in 2019, far too many nursing homes classified their patients as schizophrenic. Moreover, it was just a handful of nursing homes that seemed to have a disproportionate number of patients coded as schizophrenic.  The federal administration wants to focus its probe specifically on these nursing homes.

Unauthorized and unlawful sedation of patients is a fairly common practice in nursing homes.  If your loved one is currently admitted in a nursing home, make sure that you look  for  signs of  over sedation in your loved one during your visits.  Symptoms of over  medication can include sleepiness, confusion, and disorientation.  If  you find that your loved one is uncharacteristically lethargic,  raise your concerns with the nursing home staff.

The Atlanta  attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in wrongful death accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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